My last post looked at the incestuous web of relationships between Tauchnitz authors, concentrating first on parents and children, husbands and wives. But there were many other close relationships.
Perhaps the most famous example of siblings as authors was the Brontë sisters and all three were published Tauchnitz authors, although two of them only posthumously. ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë and ‘Agnes Grey’ by Anne Brontë were published in a combined edition of two volumes in 1851, together with a biographical note by Charlotte, her sisters having died in 1848 / 1849. Four of Charlotte’s own novels appeared in the series.
So far as I know this is the only example of three sisters as Tauchnitz authors, but there were at least three other pairs of sisters who achieved that honour. The two Scottish sisters, Dorothea Gerard and Emily Gerard are reasonably easy to identify, as both wrote under their maiden names. They would have been more camouflaged under their married names as Dorothea Longard de Longgarde and Emily de Laszowska – both sisters married officers in the Austro-Hungarian army.
Irish sisters Agnes and Mary Sweetman are less easy to recognise. Agnes wrote a series of novels with her husband as Agnes and Egerton Castle, while her sister had a single novel published by Tauchnitz, writing as M.E. Francis. It’s not obvious either that Amy Lothrop and Elizabeth Wetherell are sisters, although there are perhaps clues in their jointly authored novel ‘Say and Seal’ (vols. 498/9). On the title page they are described only as the author of ‘Wide, wide world’ and the author of ‘Dollars and cents’. But the preface is signed by both using their pseudonyms, which they admit are their ancestors’ names rather than their own, and describe as a pair of gloves worn to shake hands with the public. Their real names were in fact Anna Warner and Susan Warner. Susan, writing as Elizabeth Wetherell, had four other books published by Tauchnitz as well.
Brothers are less of a problem to identify and examples include Edward and Henry Bulwer Lytton, Wilkie Collins and Charles Allston Collins, Charles and Henry Kingsley, E.F. Benson and Robert Hugh Benson. Brother / sister combinations include Marie Corelli and her half-brother Eric Mackay, and Hilaire Belloc and his sister Marie Belloc-Lowndes.
There are quite a few uncles and aunts. Sheridan Le Fanu, for instance, author of two Tauchnitz novels, was the uncle of Rhoda Broughton, who had a much longer list. John Addington Symonds was the uncle of ‘George Paston’, the pen name for Emily Morse Symonds, and Mary Cholmondeley was the aunt of Stella Benson. George Otto Trevelyan was not only the nephew of Lord Macaulay, but also edited ‘The life and letters’ of his uncle. Both men were historians, MPs and Government ministers.
The most complicated example of uncles and aunts comes from the remarkable Arnold family and spans three generations. In one sense it starts with another even earlier generation, as Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, was not a Tauchnitz author, but a Tauchnitz character, featuring in ‘Tom Brown’s schooldays’ written by Thomas Hughes. His son, the poet Matthew Arnold, went on to have two books of essays published by Tauchnitz, and was the uncle of Mary Augusta Ward, writing as Mrs. Humphry Ward, who had many more to her name. She in turn was the aunt of Aldous Huxley, who contributed several more volumes to the family library of Tauchnitz Editions.
On then to grandchildren, of whom I can find three examples. Daphne du Maurier was the granddaughter of George du Maurier, Caroline Norton was the granddaughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Christabel Coleridge was the granddaughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Christabel was also more distantly related to Mary E. Coleridge, who was the great-grandniece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as well as to Charlotte Yonge. Yonge started an essay society for young women, called the Goslings, of which Christabel and other members of the Coleridge family were part, and which also included Mary Augusta Ward (see above).
We’re starting to get into more distant relationships now, which brings us on to Margaret Oliphant and Laurence Oliphant. They certainly both came from the same family of Scottish landed gentry, and are often described as cousins, but I think that may be distant cousins rather than first cousins. Margaret’s mother was an Oliphant and she was given Oliphant as a middle name, but then went on to marry her cousin and acquired Oliphant as a surname as well. With a naturally heightened sense of family history she then wrote a long memoir of the life of Laurence Oliphant and his wife, Alice Oliphant, also published by Tauchnitz.
In a similar category is Rose Macaulay, who was from the same family, the Macaulays of Lewis as Lord Macaulay, mentioned above, although the relationship was quite distant. And then there is Dinah Craik and the other Craiks. Dinah, the most prolific Craik author, acquired the name by marrying a nephew of George Lillie Craik, who became a Tauchnitz author only after his death. His ‘Manual of English Literature and of the history of the English Language’ was published by Tauchnitz in 1874, by which time both Dinah and his daughter Georgiana Craik were established Tauchnitz authors.
Other more distantly related Tauchnitz authors include Washington Irving and his grand-niece Julia Cruger (writing as Julien Gordon), Lloyd Osbourne, who was the stepson of Robert Louis Stevenson and E.W. Hornung and Arthur Conan Doyle, who were brothers-in-law. E.OE Somerville and Violet Martin (as Martin Ross) jointly authored several novels and were second cousins. They were also more distantly related to Maria Edgeworth, who had a single volume published in the Tauchnitz ‘Series for the Young’. Mortimer Collins, author of two novels published by Tauchnitz in the 1870s, was the step-father of the wife of Tighe Hopkins, who followed him as a Tauchnitz author some twenty-five years later.
I am sure there are other relationships that I’ve missed and in the end it almost feels that it would have been easier to list the Tauchnitz authors who weren’t related to any other authors. But there’s still one relationship that I feel should have been there, but wasn’t. F. Frankfort Moore, an Irish writer with more than twenty Tauchnitz novels to his name, was the brother-in-law of Bram Stoker. The two men were married to Alice and Florence Balcombe, two of six sisters from Dublin. Sadly none of Bram Stoker’s works, most famously ‘Dracula’, were included in the Tauchnitz series. And in another intriguing ‘might have been’ relationship, one of Florence Balcombe’s former suitors had been Oscar Wilde, of course a Tauchnitz author.
Charlotte Brontë can’t claim the distinction of being the first female novelist to be published by Tauchnitz – that went to Lady Blessington in 1843. By 1848 when ‘Jane Eyre’ appeared as volume 145 and 146 of the Tauchnitz Edition, two other women had joined her, but the series was still dominated by male authors. Within 20 years women writers would be in the majority, but in the 1840s they still had to fight against prejudice, not just in terms of getting published at all, but in terms of how novels by female authors were viewed.
So the novel appeared under the pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’, a writer of indeterminate gender, with the Brontë sisters unwilling to use obviously male names, but wanting to avoid being categorised as women writers. Ironically, modern categorisation might say that the gender of the author is indeed important, that ‘Jane Eyre’ is evidently by a woman writer, and that it’s hard to believe many people were fooled. In a sense though the novel hid under two pseudonyms, with its sub-title being ‘An autobiography’, so that the implied author was Jane Eyre herself and the book was only edited by Currer Bell.
Half-title and title pages of volume 1 of Jane Eyre – first printing in Tauchnitz
It had been published in Britain in October 1847 to some critical acclaim but also controversy. It was quickly reprinted, with the second edition carrying a preface from the author, dated December 21st 1847, defending it against charges of immorality and dedicating it to William Thackeray, author of ‘Vanity Fair’. The Tauchnitz Edition was not far behind, announced at press on 4 February 1848, and including the preface to the second London edition.
Again sales must have been good, because by 1850 a Second Tauchnitz Edition appeared, completely reset and now also including a note to the third London Edition. Very unusually for Tauchnitz, the Second Edition, and all later editions over the next 90 years or so, are dated 1850, rather than retaining the original 1848 date. That does at least make it easy to recognise the first edition, which is dated 1848 and has 342 pages.
The success of ‘Jane Eyre’ is also reflected in the fact that the other novels by Charlotte Brontë were all published by Tauchnitz as soon as they could get their hands on them. They appeared more or less simultaneously with the London editions – ‘Shirley’ in 1849 as volumes 180 and 181, ‘Villette’ in 1853 as volumes 256 and 257, and ‘The professor’ posthumously in 1857 as volume 404. They were all published under the name of Currer Bell, despite the author’s identity having become widely known.
As usual with Tauchnitz Editions, it’s not always easy to recognise first printings. The first printing of ‘Shirley’ is distinguished by the publisher’s name on the title page being ‘Bernh. Tauchnitz Jun.’, where later printings show it as ‘Bernhard Tauchnitz’. For ‘Villette’ and ‘The Professor’, all printings use ‘Bernhard Tauchnitz’, but the first printings are distinguished by listing no other titles by Brontë on the back of the half-title.
As well as Charlotte Brontë’s own books, Tauchnitz was eager to publish Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of her, which again appeared in 1857 in the same month as the London Edition and possibly even in advance of it (volumes 384 and 385). A Second Edition appeared in 1859 and for some odd reason this shares with ‘Jane Eyre’ the distinction of being clearly identified as a Second Edition and given a new date on the title page. So again the first printing is much easier to identify than is usual for Tauchnitz Editions – it is dated 1857 and the two volumes have 314 and 298 pages.